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West Norfolk mum Rachel Curtis running London Marathon to support Stirling charity - with support from Eastenders star Simone Lahbib





A mum and business owner is getting set to run the London Marathon in two week’s time to help a charity which is very close to her heart.

On April 21, Rachel Curtis will run her third marathon in as many years to raise funds for The Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund, which is based in Stirling, Scotland.

Rachael, who runs toddler groups through her business Munchkin and Me in the likes of Lynn, Downham, Dersingham and Hillington, hopes to reach a target of £1,200 - taking her past the £10,000 milestone overall.

Rachel Curtis is taking on the London Marathon this month
Rachel Curtis is taking on the London Marathon this month

The Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund has built a respite holiday home in Stirling for children with cancer and their families, from all over the UK, to have a precious holiday together.

The house was built in memory of Eilidh, who passed away aged 15 within a year of a cancer diagnosis. After her death, her family dedicated themselves to making her dream of helping others into a reality by building Eilidh’s House.

It costs £60,000 every year to pay for families to stay in the holiday home free of charge, to visit local attractions and have all their food and bills covered.

Eilidh Brown, who passed away after a cancer diagnosis
Eilidh Brown, who passed away after a cancer diagnosis

“When I first learnt about Eilidh’s story, it really struck a chord with me as a mummy,” Rachel said.

“I just couldn’t not do something to help. It was not long after lockdown, and I thought, ‘what can I do?’ Instantly running came to mind, which is my passion and my escape.

“What I didn’t expect was the phenomenal support that I’ve received from family, friends and strangers alike, many of whom are strangers that have now become friends.

“I was fortunate enough to get a ‘Good for Age’ time for the London Marathon 2023, which means automatic entry if you want it.

Rachel with Eilidh’s parents Nicole and Gordon Brown at Eilidh’s House
Rachel with Eilidh’s parents Nicole and Gordon Brown at Eilidh’s House

“Immediately after last year I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it again - I’m a year older and it is incredibly painful and hard.

“However, I always liken it to childbirth, and as the weeks go by you forget the pain and you suddenly find yourself preparing to do it ‘all over again’.”

Rachel added: “I was motivated by the fact I wanted to raise more for this very special charity - a lot of charities are able to purchase gold bond places in the marathon, but the Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund is only small and family-run, so they can’t afford the marathon places.

Rachel finding it tough during last year's London Marathon
Rachel finding it tough during last year's London Marathon

“Every donation and every gesture makes a huge difference and I know that Gordon and Nicole, Eilidh’s parents, are immensely grateful for the amazing generosity of so many people that has enabled them to be able to provide this special place for families going through the unimaginable.”

Rachel has received plenty of support from her close friend Simone Lahbib, the actress famous for her roles in Bad Girls, Wire in the Blood and Eastenders, who is Eilidh’s Aunt.

She has helped promote Rachel’s fundraising efforts over the last three years.

Rachel Curtis and Simone Lahbib
Rachel Curtis and Simone Lahbib

Simone said: “The charity is small but it has a huge heart - the collective hearts of all its many supporters. It’s the kindness and ingenuity of people like Rachel who keep it going to be frank.

“I couldn’t run for a bus never mind run a marathon, so I’m completely in awe. I hadn’t considered how much preparation goes into it either. Last week, Rachel did a 20-mile run as part of her training - can you imagine!

“I know times are tough for a lot of people but I also know how kind and generous British people are.

“So on behalf of everyone at the charity and all the families with children with cancer who come to stay at Eilidh’s House, we’re sending our heartfelt thanks. Thank you!”

Eilidh’s House in Stirling, Scotland
Eilidh’s House in Stirling, Scotland

Although it is not her first marathon, Rachel said that organising a training schedule has been difficult as she juggles life as a mother and business owner.

Over the last three years, she has taken part in sponsored runs with her children’s school while vlogging her training and promoting the fundraising online.

This year, she has organised a raffle for which many businesses in the area have donated prizes including.

These include the Ele and Me toy shop, Shoreline Therapies, Little City Norfolk, Energise Pentney and the Sea Life Centre in Hunstanton.

Rachel added: “At 19 miles the pain is really kicking in and I know I still have an hour of running left but there are two things that keep me going.

“One is the thought of Eilidh and her vision to help others - my reason for running - and the second is knowing that there are people out there rooting for me to get round; my friends and family, families that come to my classes and complete strangers who have been kind enough to donate or send words of support and encouragement.

“Thank you so much - your kindness and generosity means more than you know.”

Raffle entries can be purchased by contacting Rachel via her work website: https://www.munchkinandme.co.uk/

Alternatively, if you would like to sponsor Rachel and also to read more about Eilidh’s House, visit her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/page/rachel-curtis



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